The Journey of the Mabbly “Why”

Believe, Science of Story August 12, 2016

The Journey of the Mabbly “Why”

Adam Fridman
Adam Fridman is a seasoned entrepreneur who enjoys the challenges and excitement of startup companies. He founded AdvisorTV, a Chicago-based advice and mentorship community for entrepreneurs, and Mabbly, a digital marketing agency.

Mabbly’s 3-Step Journey To Purpose

Do you believe that life has a singular purpose or one that evolves over time? During our jam with Simon Sinek (see interview on Inc.), the question of “Why’s” permanence quickly became a point of contention.

Simon firmly believes there is one “Why.” He said, “It may be a journey to find it, but once you reach it, it doesn’t change.” Hank and I, on the other hand, kept emphasizing that we see it as an iterative process that evolves with each milestone of the business. Keep in mind that the majority of our chat with Simon was about a personal “Why” and we extrapolate the connection to business/organization Why’s.

As I write this post, I remain undecided. I would very much welcome opinions. For context, I’ll share Mabbly’s journey.

“We Demystify Digital”

This was our motto at the launch of Mabbly. The elevator pitch was simple: we have seen way too much BS in digital and there is a better way. We will not play the “pay for our magic box to solve your problems” card that is typical for many other agencies and freelancers.

Our approach will be direct and honest. We will show you everything we know from ideas to tools and techniques to methodology. Then you have a choice: will you execute with your resources or let us become a partner?

We created a superhero to fight against digital injustice and her epic adventures begun:



Benefits: This was direct and to the point. Customers could decide if they wanted to engage in 2-3 minutes.

Shortfalls: Lacked higher purpose. Began to feel mechanical within 1.5 years.

“We Rethink Marketing & Media”

Digital MarketingWe launched and continued to iterate advisor.TV while continuing our fascination with the intersection of marketing and media. A pivot felt right and “Rethink Marketing & Media” was born.

The moment of enlightenment came as we asked ourselves, what is the objective of digital content creation? Of course we are the champions for our clients’ products and services, but if the strategy is focusing on creating engaging and entertaining content, is that media or marketing? What is the difference? How has social media impacted the conversation? 

Benefits: Our universe grew and the conversation moved from focusing on the industry’s shortcomings to exploring authentic storytelling. The team was rejuvenated with the expansion of our universe and we became exhilarated at the prospect of building platforms around the intersection of “media & marketing.”

Shortfalls: It didn’t complete us (yes, I watched Jerry Maguire too many times). It simply didn’t fuel the tanks with the momentum we needed to ignite our passion.

“We Believe in Inspired Thinking”

I started my career in corporate finance and investment banking. I saw what “disengaged” looks like and it disturbed me. Endless talent, passion and creativity stalled by demoralizing surroundings and boxes. Those boxes were everywhere in a system that simply doesn’t reward “caring.”

With every addition to our tribe, we felt exhilarated. A simple realization changed everything. We have the opportunity to mold our experiences toward a vision we choose. “Inspired Thinking” became our true north.  

inspired thinkingOur tribe is not motivated by annual reviews.

Our tribe has not been sentenced to a 9-5.

Our tribe thrives on setting impossible objectives while pulling through the current “shit storms” of stretch goals.

When you are inspired, truly gut-fired-up-can’t-sleep inspired, transformation happens. The concept of “work” evolves to something more, perhaps closer to meaning or perhaps in the direction of satisfaction. With a purpose that fuels our being as deeply as “Inspired Thinking,” the rest simply flows. Actually, the rest POURS.

Benefits: 100% alignment throughout the business. From how to find tribe members to what to write on our media hub (the future of blogs).

Shortfall: Less sleep.

Simon was right. When you find it, BOOM. Time will tell if we have reached lifelong purpose or if this is another destination in this long journey. I can say with absolute confidence that the current state feels unlike any of my previous experiences in business. As a tribe, Mabbly now has the desire and drive to share all we experience with the world.  

Perhaps we’re both right. It’s just that some people have a longer journey to find their true Why. We’ve observed a strategic motivation to roll out an iterative Why in business. Larger companies have more stakeholders who need to be on board and it’s harder to introduce a massive shift in mindset to a more traditional company all at once.

But the point is to start somewhere. It is not about perfection. Get ignition with one Why and start digging to the next until you start to feel inspired. Sometimes we feel that a company’s declared Why is actually more of a How. As they iterate, they look back to realize that untrue Why’s look like How’s in retrospect.

But the real Why feels right forever.